Monday, February 4, 2013

my peruvian paradise.

well, it's official.
i'm in heaven down here.
despite the smells and filth and ice cold showers, i've grown to love this place, and i've grown to love these people.
i've had a hard time writing about my experiences here over the last few weeks because i guess i'm a bit at a loss of words (for once) about all that i'm feeling and all that i'm doing and the immense culmination of changes that are occurring within me every single day.

these kids are changing me.
they are teaching me how to live more simply and to love more purely.
they're teaching me what it means to be happy.
i love their resilience, their smiles, and their enthusiasm--
the way they sing and dance and laugh,
their constant need for hugs (even our little tough guys love em),
and how excited they are to learn.

these past few weeks, we've been really getting to know the kids better.
though a lot of them fit in with the cultural norm of being very timid, we've finally broken down some walls and developed friendships with them.
though it's only been three-ish weeks, these kids have my heart.
i've found myself worrying about them all weekend, and i can't wait to get back to work with them tomorrow!
i feel like we're making progress with all of our educational work, too, which is so exciting. the past two weeks, we've focused on nutrition and dental hygiene, and we've had some great successes!

between the crossword puzzles and health classes and games and art activities, the kids are definitely beginning to grasp some of the most important concepts.
plus, it's mango season, so we've been buying them tons of fresh mangoes a few times a week as their postre (dessert), and they've been going nuts over them!
and we gave them their very own toothbrushes (with some old egg cartons jerryrigged into a stand), and really, they couldn't have been more thrilled. they all jump at the chance to brush their teeth after lunch, and some of them even beg to brush a second time!
none of these kids have toothbrushes at home, so their poor little mouths are not in the best shape. many complain of their teeth hurting, some of them have visible signs of decay, and a few of the littlest ones have holes in their teeth.
i've never seen such gratitude for something so small as a toothbrush before; it almost seems unreal.
but that's really what these kids are full of-- so much love and gratitude.

i am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity i have to work here. i am learning and growing every day... from these children, from my co-worker/roommate/amiga (she is really so very wonderful), from my host family, and from my surroundings.
i am continually humbled and amazed and awakened down here in south america.

in some ways, i feel like i've become the mother of forty-something peruvian babies. and i never want them to grow up or leave my sight.


brooke field said...

wow, you are quite the adventurer! love it

kelzone said...

i'm so happy you're having those experiences and slightly jealous. i'll just tell you right now, the day you fly home will quite possibly be the hardest day of your life. i'd give anything to go back to south america right now.